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He needed killin’

August 6th, 2008 · 10 Comments

The Lonestar State has put another man to death, but this time, it violated the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations by failing to inform Jose Ernesto Medellin, a Mexican national, of his right to seek assistance from the Mexican Consulate.

In 1993, as an 18 year old young man, Jose Ernesto Medellin raped and murdered two girls, Elizabeth Peña and Jennifer Ertman with his gang member friends. No doubt that this crime was horrific and that Medellin deserved to be punished, but Mexico does not have the death penalty in its country. The Mexican government is arguing that its citizens on death row are being denied fair trials because they lack consular access. Moreover, Supreme Court Justice Breyer wrote that in going forward with this execution that the US is “irremediably in violation of international law and breaks our treaty promises.”

If the US cannot honor international law and our treaties, then how can we expect our own citizens living abroad to have just treatment and access to the American consulate should they encounter legal difficulties? I can’t believe that the state of Texas could be so short sighted in its need to kill Medellin that it would not wait for his attorneys to confer with the Mexican consulate and/or wait for the pending legislation in Congress to review similar cases of foreign-born inmates on death row.

Another thing that bothers me about this case is the fact that Medellin was not a citizen, and he was brought to the US as a small child. The debate about access to the Mexican Consulate would have been a moot point had he become a citizen. I’m going to guess that he was in the US for at least 10 or so years before even committing the murders, which again points to the need for some sort of comprehensive immigration reform and agreement with the countries of origin of immigrants who commit crime.

Tags: Crime · Immigration

10 responses so far ↓

  • 1 DexterManley // Aug 7, 2008 at 2:33 am

    Nice blog. I could go on forever about any number of topics you cover which I think about all the time.

    By way of introduction, I am a White, Russian-Jewish Panamanian Man, 47-years of age, who went to college and grad school in the states. I speak unaccented English and Spanish. Rather, I speak both street and cultured English and Spanish. I guess I’m not any part of La Raza but am I less Latino? More importantly, I don’t care, because I feel BOTH Jewish and Panamanian. I suppose Latin-ness is in the eye of the beholder!

    I think that Medellin could only be executed being Mexican, Colombian or Peruvian. Otherwise, this disrespect for sovreignty would set off problems that could bury the US dollar. I am very, very proud of our president, Martin Torrijos, who has told Bush to go away on any number of trade deals over and over again.

    But these kinds of US actions are having grave consquences down here in South America and even in Canada with something called “the asset posting requirement.” The rest of the world is so sick of how we’ve been treated by the USA that center-left and center-right governments are fighting back. American immigrants to Panama and Canada, for example, have to keep $250,000 of assets frozen in real property, bonds or bank deposits as a condition for residency. That’s going up to $350,000 in September and it may become retroactive.

    What will happen is that all of these White Retirees who thought they could buy a cheap retirement in a gated community far outside the capital with only White non-Spanish speaking Americans, will either have to top up their posting to $350k or be deported. It was not this way when Bill Clinton was president.

    There’s something else that bothers me about the USA these days. It’s this word “HISPANIC.” To us who are really fluent in English and know some American history, the word sounds like “COLORED” must up there. It’s not that the word is inaccurate exactly, it’s that it conveys no information. It equates a Lebanese-Chilean banker with a Guatemalteco farmer. This part of the world is incredibly diverse and we don’t even speak the same kind of Spanish that Mexicans do. But if someone is Mexican or Guatemalan or Puerto Rican or Colombian or Chilean why can’t that person be identified in the media by his or her country of birth or by his or her ancestry? I have a lot in common with most of South American “citadinos’ but what do I know about Central Americans? Next to nothing really. I know that if someone calls me “pinche pendejo” I’ll call him “gueco de mierda.” But in 9999 of other cases we’ll address each other in the “usted” form until we know each other.

    Of course, I favored Hillary Clinton for president because to us Bill Clinton was a LIBERATOR. But now that the Democrats have a very fine nominee named Barack Obama, what’s the problem? I don’t understand why it’s necessary for some of Obama’s goofier American supporters to keep demanding more than a pound of flesh from the Clintons.

    I like Obama and fear McCain but Bill Clinton will always have a special significance to every Pananmanian, Peruvian and Argentinian for REAL, MATERIAL reasons. I hate the thought of a President McCain but I have never understood the rancor between the HRC supporters and the Obama supporters.

    Face it, if either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama ran for president of Panama with their platforms, they’d get 20% of the vote at best. Their AMERICAN views on the death penalty, war, incarceration of minors with adults, gay unions, sex and contraception, single-payer health care, and PRIVACY would be way to right of the most extreme right wing fringe candidates here.

    We get that Obama’s bright and sophisticated and has a chance of setting America on the right course once again. We know exactly where McCain’s at. He announced it himself. He’d like to quarter troops in Colombia and Peru for invastions of Venezuela and Ecuador.

    Good luck to him. He doesn’t know what Colombia, his ALLY, is really like. All he’d have to do is attend one bar mitzvah in Medellin. Half the adolescents there have had most of their male relatives killed in the drug and political wars by the time they were 10. They’re perfectly nice kids theyre just affectless. Their moms have told them to shoot any stranger in a uniform on sight. Then, they go back inside the house on the golf course behind razor wire with five “francotiradores” on the roof and settle in with some Metallica and Madden football and a bagel, lox and orange juice.

    How’s McCain going to deal with THAT let alone Venezuela?

    I don’t know much about Mexico other than the District which is a pretty diverse city. Why is the American presumption that any Central or South American is Mexican? I know a lot more about Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador and Argentina than I know about Mexico to be sure.

    I do know THIS. This framing of Latino immigration as a “problem” or a “crisis” is not only bigoted, it’s also stupid policy. Given the collapsing dollar and the appreciating Peso and all of the natural resource wealth in Mexico, there will come a point sooner rather than later when at Purchasing Power Partity the Peso salaries in Mexico will be better than those in the USA and Mexicans won’t even want to come to the USA. Given the low birth rate, this will be a big problem. Lou Dobbs will change his tune and beg Mexicans to come, but it will be too late.

  • 2 Dying In The Fields: Pro-Migrant SanctuarySphere « American Humanity // Aug 7, 2008 at 5:59 am

    […] He needed killin’ at Latino Politics Blog. The Lonestar State has put another man to death, but this time, it violated the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations by failing to inform Jose Ernesto Medellin, a Mexican national, of his right to seek assistance from the Mexican Consulate. […]

  • 3 Christina // Aug 7, 2008 at 7:50 am

    I saw this and I was wondering the same thing. I agree that the crime was horrific and he certainly needed to be punished for it. However, the country of his origin should have been considered as well. I may get flamed for this response, but I don’t care.

    Love the blog by the way :)

  • 4 pajamadeen // Aug 7, 2008 at 10:49 am

    Another unnerving aspect of the Medellin case is that the last time the Supreme Court ruled on aspects of this case, they ruled that the U.S. wasn’t bound by international treaty law. Excuse me? !!!

  • 5 Christina // Aug 7, 2008 at 10:58 am

    Thanks for stopping by. My oldest daughter 2 1/2 years old and you share the same name!

  • 6 theKaiser // Aug 7, 2008 at 11:11 am

    Frankly, I am surprised it took Texas 15 years to kill this man. Usually, when it comes to executing people of color, the State of Texas doesn’t waste any time. You have to remember that the Texas Supreme Court is one of the few courts that do not recognize DNA evidence as a means of exonerating an individual of a felony crime. Especially, if that individual is Black, Brown, or some other color other than white. Nevertheless, what Jose Ernesto Medellin and his friends did to those girls was repugnant, and his execution eliminated the threat of someone else being physically harmed by this man and his associates.

  • 7 webmaster // Aug 7, 2008 at 4:34 pm

    DexterManley, welcome to the blog. I welcome an international/Latin American perspective. As for your question, I don’t consider you any less *Latino* but you are correct in that these terms can be applied however one wants to see the situation. There are Jews throughout Latin America of various extractions. :)

    I would have to agree w/ you that the USA has taken a terrible turn to the right on many issues and that we need to repair our image abroad.

    That asset posting requirement that you write about sounds very harsh and hard to comply with. I have blogged about migratory patterns of Americans going to retire in Mexico before. Some people, especially the anti-immigration folks here in the states, don’t want to acknowledge the two-way street.

    Please do come back and feel free to contribute to the conversation!

  • 8 Kat // Aug 7, 2008 at 6:03 pm

    “The gang members ran and grabbed Elizabeth and pulled her down the incline, off of the tracks. Testimony showed that Jenny had gotten free and could have run away but returned to Elizabeth when she cried out for Jenny to help her.

    For the next hour or so, these beautiful, innocent young girls were subjected to the most brutal gang rapes that most of the investigating officers had ever encountered. The confessions of the gang members that were used at trial indicated that there was never less than 2 men on each of the girls at any one time and that the girls were repeatedly raped orally, anally and vaginally for the entire hour. One of the gang members later said during the brag session that by the time he got to one of the girls, “she was loose and sloppy.” One of the boys boasted of having ‘virgin blood’ on him.

    The 14-year-old juvenile later testified that he had gone back and forth between his brother and Peter Cantu since they were the only ones there that he really knew and kept urging them to leave. He said he was told repeatedly by Peter Cantu to “get some”. He raped Jennifer and was later sentenced to 40 years for aggravated sexual assault, which was the maximum sentence for a juvenile.

    When the rapes finally ended, the horror was not over. The gang members took Jenny and Elizabeth from the clearing into a wooded area, leaving the juvenile behind, saying he was “too little to watch”. Jenny was strangled with the belt of Sean O’Brien, with two murderers pulling, one on each side, until the belt broke. Part of the belt was left at the murder scene, the rest was found in O’Brien’s home. After the belt broke, the killers used her own shoelaces to finish their job. Medellin later complained that “the bitch wouldn’t die” and that it would have been “easier with a gun”. Elizabeth was also strangled with her shoelaces, after crying and begging the gang members not to kill them; bargaining, offering to give them her phone number so they could get together again.”

    Just in case we forget the victims in all of this…

  • 9 hose carreras // Aug 8, 2008 at 12:34 am

    seems to me these days criminal get all the rights and the victims are just well..just victims.

    I hope the executioner didnt overdose on the potassium cyanide so that the convict at least felt some of the pain.

    to people who say death penalty is cruel, simple answer is this.
    its much more humane than the treatment meted out to the victims of these killers/criminals.

  • 10 DexterManley // Aug 9, 2008 at 2:50 am

    Estimados “Kat” y Sr Carreras:

    What did Stalin say? One death is a tragedy. 100,000 deaths are a statistic, si o no?

    There are always going to be heinous crimes of all sorts. One may always cite them as graphically as possible to advocate for the death penalty or perhaps even a biblical punishment.

    The rest of the developed, capitalist, democratic, republican, parliamentary West has a different view of this subject than most Americans do. Take a look at economic growth rates in Europe, Oceania, and especially Latin America and compare them to those of the US. We must be doing something right. If Colombia and Israel don’t have a death penalty, why exactly is it so sacred a ritual in the USA?

    Not only are there anecdotal stories of horrific crimes in Colombia and Israel, there’s a tremendous problem with political violence. They don’t feel they need to have a death penalty to deal with it.

    There’s very little violent crime in Switzerland. They don’t have a death penalty.

    In Argentina and Chile there was an official policy of torture and murder without charge or trial of every leftist and Jew the government could get their hands on back in the 70s and 80s. Now neither street, nor psychopathic, nor government crime is a problem in either Argentina and Chile are huge epidemics. They have no death penalty.

    The USA by and large is pretty safe. It’s not as safe as Switzerland and it’s not as safe as Germany which has a very hetergeneous population. Crime is up as the economy has gotten worse but by the end of the Clinton adminsitration it was a 50 year lows. Punishment certain has gotten no looser during Bush’s presidency.

    These stories are very heart-breaking and the whole world enjoys all the US cop shows, but let’s get serious a second. The greatest danger to children in general and in the USA particularly is not some psycho like Medellin. The greatest danger to children are the children’s own parents.j Followed by relatives. Followed by community religious leaders. And it’s never moderate religious leaders. Always extremists. How come the Jesuits in America didn’t have the problems with child abuse that ordinary Roman Catholics did? How come Espiscopalians don’t have the problems with child abuse that Southern Baptists do? How come Reform Jews don’t have the problems with child abuse that the Hasidic extremists do?

    The USA is pretty safe but it still has too high a murder rate as compared with the rest of the West. I cannot help believe that by not only allowing and facilitating the implementation of execution in the US, but also ritualizing it to such a degree (12:01 AM time, the “last meal,” etc.), the government sends the people a signal that murder is a solution not a problem.

    To counter the anticipated counter-argument “what would you think if your son….?” Here’s what I do and would think. I would find out who hurt my son and make that person pay worse, whether I needed to do it myself or conspire with “hitters” to do it with me. I would’t care about the outcome because I don’t think I could psychologically survive the murder of my young child anyway. I suppose I’d put up a vigorous legal defense or make the best deal possible but that would hardly matter to me either. 8 years. 15 years. Whatever. The pain of the loss would make that moot.

    I won’t support state-sanctioned murder of adults and certainly not state-sanction murder of juveniles.

    To the webmaster: I understand that I won’t get much agreement on this point of view here, but you did want an international perspective and my thoughts on the subject are hardly original outside of the US. In fact, mine is the majority viewpoint.

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